Blog, News, Updates

How to take the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification at CCSD

For the most part, the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications are built into specific courses. Here is a list of courses that the MOS certifications are built into:

APP101 Computer Fundaments: Word Certification

APP103 Word Processing and Presentations: PowerPoint Certification

APP104 Spreadsheet Applications: Excel Certification

If for whatever reason you were not able to take the certification exam during the course that it is offered in, then there are a couple different options for you. But before we discuss how and when to take the certification exam, let’s discuss the requirements that qualify you to take it.

Requirements:

  • A score of 85% in the course that the certification exam was offered in.
    • If you did not get an 85% in the course that the certification exam was offered in, you must get approval from education management (Mr. Dru, Mr. Jean Pierre, or any Deans).
  • A screenshot of passing scores of the GMetrix Practice Exam 1, 2, 3 (testing versions) for the certification you want to take (see image below).
    • Screenshot must have your name, exam titles, testing version, passing scores, and dates clearly visible.
    • The dates of the GMetrix Practice Exam 1, 2, & 3 (testing verions) should NOT be longer than 30 days from the day you will take the Certification Exam.
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Here is an example of a screenshot that includes the student’s name, exam title, score, and date. Remember, you must pass all three practice exams in order to take the corresponding certification.

How to schedule the certification exam:

  1. Gather all required documents
  2. Scheudle the certification exam appointment by e-mailing CCSD IT at help@ccsdit.on.spiceworks.com. Give them the days and times you are available to take the exam. Students will need to reserve about an hour and half for the certification exam process:
    • The exam takes about 20 minutes to set up (this includes registering for Certiport if unregistered and for the proctor to go over rules before the exam)
    • Then, students are given 50 minutes to complete the certification exam.
    • After the exam, students have 20 minutes to review the results.

The best times to take the certification exam are on Fridays at 8:00am. You will need to contact CCSD IT to schedule the certification exam so that a qualified proctor can be present.

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How To Use The Writing Center

Did you know that California College San Diego has a writing center where students can submit written assignments that will be proofread, annotated with suggested corrections, and a summarized feedback?

To access the writing center:

  1. From Canvas’ home page, Enter the Study Hall Academic Resource Center (SHARC)
  2. Click on “Writing Center”
  3. Enter your student credentials
    1. *If you have trouble with your student credentials contact the librarian (Patricia.Bermel@cc-sd.edu)
  4. You can choose to Make an Appointment or Submit a Paper
    1. An Appointment provides you with one-on-one help with writing assignments, perfect for students who need help getting started.
    2. Submit a Paper is for students who have already written a paper and want feedback before the final submission to the instructor. Follow the instructions on how to submit a paper and agree to the terms of service,  then click “Submit Work.”
  5. According to the terms of service, if students submit on Saturday after 9am MST, feedback may not be received with the 24-48 hour window.

    Update (06/01/2018): You must save your document using a unique name such as CourseCode_Assignmnt#_FirstLastname (example: CSS101_Assignment2_DruMacasieb). If you try and upload it using “Assignment 1” or a generic file name that others may use, you will get that it cannot be submitted.

  6. After submitting a paper, students must come back to the writing center to see if their document has been completed. Students will not receive an email or notification that their paper has been worked on. Instead, students must re-visit the writing center to check on the status of their paper.

Update (06/01/2018): If you have any questions or concerns about using the Writing Center, please contact the Writing Center Supervisor: Angela Sweeney–angela.sweeney@independence.edu  and CC your instructor.

From personal experience, I have found that the writing center, no matter what reason for the feedback you chose,  does an awesome job of providing feedback on the entire paper (APA formatting, grammar, sentence structure, ideas, organization etc.).

I have also found that the earlier I submit papers during the week, the faster the turned around time is.  I submitted a paper on Tuesday around 6:00pm PST and got feedback on it 10:00am PST the next morning. I have also noticed that paper submitted toward the end of the week (Friday and Saturday) takes longer to get back, and the feedback is not as detailed as one turned in earlier (probably because they get a ton of submissions during the end of the week).

Another best practice is to submit both the Writing Center feedback and the final draft (with improvements) to your instructor. I’ve done this, and thus far have received full credit in all my written submissions.

When I was doing my Master’s, I advertised on Craigslist proofreading services. I basically would charge $5-$10 a page to proofread written papers. So having this service free to students just blows my mind.

The Writing Center is a valuable tool for all students. In my opinion, it is crucial to submit papers to the Writing Center before submitting final drafts as it almost guarantees full credit if the feedback is applied.

Volunteer Opportunities with Junior Achievement

California College San Diego is teaming up with Junior Achievement to provide students with an opportunity to gain volunteer experience.

All students who volunteer at least 20 hours receive a certificate/letter of appreciation that can be added to their resume and portfolio. 

It’s an excellent opportunity to give back to the community, develop new or existing skills, and to network with others.

This volunteer opportunity is with Junior Achievement (JA). JA is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement’s programs—in the core content areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy—ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.
There are three different types of volunteer opportunities for Junior Achievement:
Biztown– Volunteer in one of the 21 businesses in JA BizTown with 4-8 students, assisting the students with their business/job tasks throughout the day while sharing personal stories of work experience. 
 
Finance Park– Volunteers guide groups of 8-12 students through the adult life simulation, where students learn to budget, save, and spend for themselves and their virtual families. 

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JA Days– Volunteers delivers a full grade program to students during a classroom visit.  Typically from the time instruction begins to the grades’ lunch time. 
For more information regarding this fantastic opportunity contact Dru at Dru.Macasieb@cc-sd.edu or Tamara Ferguson at tferguson@jasandiego.org 

Why I am not getting a refund of my Pell Grant?

When a student fails courses, this is an out of pocket cost that the school and financial aid does NOT cover. Any F’s that a student receives at most institutions, including CCSD, results in an in-school balance that is required to be paid by monthly installments by the student.

When federal aid is sent to the school, whether it be grants or loans, the money will always go towards tuition first. If there is any credit after the funds go towards tuition, there will be a stipend out to the student.

When students do not pass a course, it adds to their total tuition. As a result, students may not have a have a stipend sent to them.

How to Survive Online Classes at Independence University

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By Dru Macasieb

This post is about how to survive online classes at Independence University, specifically focusing on daily checkpoints, Live/Recorded Lectures, discussions, assignments,  assessments, tutoring, and communicating with your instructor.

Daily Check Points

  • Do them in the morning right when you get up or right before or after you check your email/Facebook on your computer or mobile device. Yes, you can log in to Canvas using your mobile device as long as it’s a smartphone.
  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday daily checkpoints are always extra credit, do them, you don’t have anything to lose.
  • It is best to use your laptop to do daily checkpoints so you can hit “Control + F” to bring up your browser’s find tool. With it, you can search for terminology or phrases that may help you find the answer you’re looking for.

View the Live/Recorded Lectures

  • Try you’re best to view the live lectures. Its only two hours out of your day and you can ask the instructor questions and get answers right away.
  • If you can’t attend the live lecture, view the recording. If you can’t sit there and view the recording, at least listen to it. Take your phone let it play as you take a shower, drive, wash dishes, fold laundry, just get exposed to what is being taught, its better than nothing.
  • From my experience, the instructor goes over everything you need to know to be successful in the course. Including how to do the assignments and how to pass the assessments.

Discussions

  • Do your discussions on or before Wednesdays.
  • Do it in Word, spell and grammar check it, and make sure you have the right amount of words needed as described in the directions.
  • When writing the discussion, its best to get a reference from the book and use an in-text citation, as well as referencing it in APA format at the end of your initial post.
  • Do not use quotes. As an instructor, I find it lazy as its merely a copy and paste and since it’s not in your own words, it doesn’t count towards the minimum word count. Instead, paraphrase. Another problem with quoting is that it seems that majority of students don’t know how to quote properly in APA format.
  • If you can, do one reply the same day as your initial post. You’ll need to do another reply on a different day to get full credit. Its only 50 words, be creative.

Assignments

  • Assignments are a bit trickier because it is going to depend on the class you are taking.
  • For general education and management courses, they’re most likely APA papers. It best to download an APA template and submit your written work using the template.
  • For technology students, it may be writing code or going through a virtualization.  Again, the best bet for completing assignments is by attending/viewing the live/recorded lectures.
  • For programming students, the instructor usually goes over how to code in the live lectures. You can also use the textbook to copy and paste the code and then reverse engineer it by modifying certain elements.
  • For papers, use the writing center (I can’t stress this enough). They’ll proofread your paper and provide you with feedback.

Assessments

  • Before taking the assessment be sure you have viewed and read all the course material. I find the live lectures provide you with enough information to do well on the assessments.
  • Use the “CNTRL + F” method to find specific keywords and phrases in any text document.
  • Before hitting submit, go back an check your answers, some answers answer others.
  • If you focus on the learning objectives each week, you should do fine on the assessments as they are based on the learning assessments.
  • Read the textbook from back to front. Start with the chapter questions, then read the summary, then read each section from front to back to front, ending with the introduction.

Tutoring

  • Did you know that we have online tutoring as well as on-ground tutoring?
  • Check out our Study Hall and Resource Center (aka SHARC) and utilize the Student Success Center for free tutoring 6 days a week.*  Online tutoring can help you with:
    • Walk you through assignments
    • Explain directions
    • Answer questions about course information
    • Read and help edit essays for any subject
    • Chat online with you
    • Work with you on the phone
    • Use Screen Sharing –so you can see exactly what they are talking about on the computer screen, and you can show them what you see on your screen as well.
  • The Writing Center- CCSD has an online writing center where you can make an appointment for one-on-one writing help, or simply submit a paper and the writing center will provide you with feedback.

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*Please be aware there are specific hours for each subject. To find the schedule you can visit SHARC, select Student Success Center, then click Hours of Operation.

 

Communicate with your Instructor

Your instructor is there for one purpose only, to help you learn the material. Communicate with them if you are facing ANY obstacles that hinder you the goal of learning the course material, no matter how trivial or serious the situation is. Under instructor information in your syllabus, there should adequate contact information such as email and phone numbers. You can always use Canvas’ internal email function to email your instructor. Before you submit an assignment, there is a comment box where you can submit comments. You should comment on the assignment. Let them know if you enjoyed the assignment, hated it, obstacles you’ve faced, or best practices in completing the assignment. Remember, instructors are people too and communicating with them regularly creates rapport with them.

The Difference Between Online and On-ground Learning

The majority of the students who fail online classes give  me the excuse that “I don’t learn well online.” As an online student myself, I don’t quite understand that statement because to me learning is the act of acquiring knowledge, and to me, nobody teaches anything in college, except oneself. The faculty of a college isn’t called teachers, they’re called… faculty, instructors, or professors. They facilitate learning by providing the tools necessary to learn, like books, assignments,  and clarification of concepts.  The difference between taking an online course versus an on-ground course is the mode of delivery by which facilitation occurs. In an online class, it is delivered by electronic means, such as email and video chat. While on-ground uses face-to-face communication.  Nevertheless, the on-ground portion also uses online tools such as assignment rubrics and submission, and a hybrid portion which includes discussions and daily checkpoints.

Looking at the difference, it seems that the only real difference between online learning and on-ground learning is that amount of real-time communication one has with the instructor. Online gets you 2 hours of live communication, and if you miss it, you still get a recorded lecture. On-ground gets you 5-6 hours of live communication, however, if you miss it you’re out of luck because it does not get recorded.

Conclusion

So why do students fail online courses more than on-ground classes? I think it has to with the autonomy of learning, that is the self-governance of learning. In online education, you are pretty much learning autonomous meaning you are in control of how and what you learn. You’ll have to take the initiative to read the chapters, study, and do the work. In an on-ground class, the autonomy still exists, however, it is lessened because instructors give students up to 6 hours of force-fed learning through lectures,  assignments and in-class activities. By following the tips regarding daily checkpoints, live/recorded Lectures, discussions, assignments,  assessments, and tutoring outlined in this blog, students may have a better chance a passing an online course, or any course for that matter.

These are my tips for surviving an Independence University online course. Do you have any other tips worth mentioning? If so, comment below would love to hear your tips.

 

Career Services

The Career Services team is dedicated to helping students, recent graduates, and alumni as they seek to enter and ascend their industries of choice. It begins with assessing individual priorities and career goals, measuring strengths and skills, then devising a realistic plan and implementing it.

Whether you are a newer, inexperienced student looking for a “survivor job” to help generate some income, a seasoned professional that has already earned some chops but has greater ambitions, or somewhere in between….Career Services can help.

We offer 1:1 career coaching, job lead assistance, resume consultation, networking advice, interview tips, and a bevy of other services customized to your specific needs. Ultimately, however, it is up to you to reach out and initiate the first contact.

So please stop by, give us a call, or shoot us an email. Your success is our business and we look forward to partnering with you as you carve out your niche in your respective field of study.

Contact one of our career experts now!

Gary Rossi
Director of Career Services, California College San Diego
Gary.Rossi@cc-sd.edu
(619) 680-4430 x1575

Brandon Delavar
Brandon.Delavar@cc-sd.edu
619.680.4430 x1534

Brooke Finney
brooke.finney@cc-sd.edu
619.680.4430 x3907

Virada Sayanghky
Virada.Saysangkhy@cc-sd.edu
619.680.4430

Danielle Shields
Danielle.Shields@cc-sd.edu
619.680.4430

Sydney Young
Sydney.Young@cc-sd.edu
619.680.4430 x1553

Best Practices in Mobile Website Design

Researching the web I found this best practices that kept reoccurring:

Web content should be focused and concise. Each page should have just one central focus so that the user does not get overwhelmed or confused. Having too much information on your page could create chaos especially on a smaller screen (Jain, 2015).

The layout should be flexible and fluid to ensure that the site displays well on different screen resolutions. A best practice would be main content should be centered and to avoid multiple sections that would make it hard to translate in mobile (Girard, 2015).

Having a fixed and consistent navigation menu is crucial so that users can easily navigate through the site (Jain, 2015).

Designers should practice thoughtful Reduction- Keeping images and other dynamic content minimal (Jain, 2015; Girard, 2015). Speed is an important part of designing for mobile, anything that reduces the slow down is beneficial to the user. It best to keep what’s important and possibly delete what is questionable, and definitely delete the insignificant.

In observing my website, I really don’t have much I would change, as when I was creating the website, I was designing with mobile in mind. Here are some things I could improve on:

  1. I would reduce the number of photos, maybe create a photo album to showcase services.
  2. Each page on my site has a central focus, I need to remember to only add important elements and remove insignificant ones to create for a faster and friendlier user experience.
  3. Like the above tip, do not bombard pages with too much info. Keep the site simple and lite.
  4. My current pages are split in half, one half is information the other half images, maybe just keep the half with the info and send the images to a photo album
  5. I should design the site so that its more stacked vertical than horizontal. Since most mobile devices are viewed from the horizontal position, this would make sense.

Reference:

Jain, R. (2015, April 8). 7 Best practices for designing a mobile user experience. Retrieved March 12, 2017, from https://www.sitepoint.com/7-best-practices-designing-mobile-user-experience/

Girard, J. (2015, October 19). 10 rules of best practice for responsive design. Retrieved March 12, 2017, from https://thenextweb.com/dd/2015/10/19/10-rules-of-best-practice-for-responsive-design/#.tnw_6fdx7j0J